Sunday, July 26, 2015

Kidz Bop

I saw a young couple get carded at the Piano Room last Monday.  That’s a rare sight at venues featuring live jazz (with the exception of the late-night party venue the Mutual Musicians Foundation).

The fresh-faced pair joined a coterie of other twenty-somethings who huddled near the band at the back of the space on Wornall Road.  The remainder of the two dozen customers of the Piano Room were older folks who monitored the Royals game on television or chatted with the sociable bartender. 

The kids were listening to their peers in the Waldo Jazz Collective, a group that has received short shrift at Plastic Sax.  Monday’s visit was the first time I had attended the group’s weekly session at the Piano Room.

Some members of the group occasionally appear in more prominent settings.  Baritone saxophonist Aryana Nemati, for instance, has performed for large audiences on the stages of the Gem and Midland theaters.

A set list that included compositions by Duke Ellington and James Brown reflects the band’s eclectic sensibility and the relaxed setting.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Friday, July 24, 2015

Now's the Time: Karla Harris

Drummer Todd Strait has put together a project that pays tribute to the 1961 album Nancy Wilson & Cannonball Adderly.  The group includes the Atlanta based vocalist Karla Harris, saxophonist Jim Mair, pianist Roger Wilder and bassist Bob Bowman.  The embedded video contains footage from a 2008 gig in Portland that features Strait and Harris.  The tribute shows take on place Friday, July 24, at Take Five Coffee + Bar and at the Green Lady Lounge on Saturday, July 25.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*A day after suggesting that change may be afoot at the American Jazz Museum, The Kansas City Star reported that Greg Carroll resigned from his position as the CEO of the institution.

*KC Jazz Lark offers context for the change at the American Jazz Museum.

*Shades of Jade have issued a single titled "That One".

*Ryan Heinlein interviewed Eddie Moore for Inside Jazz Kansas City.  Paul Roberts compares the jazz community in Kansas City to the atmospheres in other cities.  Stan Kessler selects ten of his favorite albums.

*The Pitch recommends a pair of Cannonball Adderley/Nancy Wilson tribute concerts.

*A portion of Ensemble IbĂ©rica’s “Music of Matt Otto” concert was filmed by Steve Paul.

*Larry Carlton will perform at the Gem Theater on October 1.

*Addison Frei is among Joe Dimino’s recent interview subjects.

*Paul Shinn is included in Colorado radio station KUVO’s 30 Under 30 roundup of notable young artists.

*Chris Robinson questions the process of the Downbeat Critics Poll.

*Tweet o’ the Week: Dominique Sanders- need to get some swag back into jazz.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Album Review: Eddie Moore and the Outer Circle- Live In Kansas City

Live In Kansas City, the exceptional new album by Eddie Moore and the Outer Circle, was released in June as I was packing for a trip to South America.  While I included it among my Favorite Albums of 2015 (So Far) listing, the recording is worthy of further examination.

In a review of an Eddie Moore and the Outer Circle performance in January, I noted that that the group revives the 1970s sound of the Crusaders and Herbie Hancock. 

The new recording opens with a rendition of Joe Henderson’s 1970s classic “Black Narcissus.”  The second track is a version of the Hancock by-way-of Robert Glasper composition “Riot.” 

The quartet of keyboardist Moore, guitarist Adam Schlozman, electric bassist DeAndre Manning and drummer Pat Adams finds its own voice on the second and third portions of the album centerpiece “Kings and Queens.”  Several moments during the extended composition are transcendent. 

Rather than attempting to revive traditional Kansas City jazz, Moore and his bandmates demonstrate their affinity for the vital contemporary music of Kamasi Washington and Thundercat.

While it’s entirely instrumental, the extraordinarily elegant and remarkably intelligent Live In Kansas City implicitly expresses the fractious tenor of our times.

(Original image of “Cosmic Fonk”-themed street art in Chile by Plastic Sax.)

Friday, July 17, 2015

Now's the Time: Silver: A Noir Ballet

Christian Hankel's Silver: A Noir Ballet opens at the Fringe Festival on Friday, July 17.  The production runs through Saturday, July 25.  Shay Estes is among the artists featured in the embedded video.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Confirmation: Weekly News & Notes

*Recently at Inside Jazz Kansas City: John Kizilarmut encourages listeners “on the fence” about jazz to embrace the music.  Clint Ashlock comments on cell phone usage.  Ryan Heinlein praises Kansas City’s jazz scene and lists his favorite albums.

*The Pitch reports that New Jazz Order’s weekly sessions have moved to Broadway Kansas City.

*KCUR interviewed Lisa Henry about an upcoming performance piece titled "Dear White People: The Racism Monologues Set to Music."

*Nicholas Payton performed with the Dave Matthews Band at Cricket Wireless Amphitheater on Tuesday.  The Kansas City Star reviewed the concert.

*Bram Wijnands was featured in an extended KCUR profile.

*The Pitch spotlights a recording of 12th Street Jump at Broadway Kansas City.

*Bill Frisell will perform at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art on February 21, 2016.  Diana Krall will return to the Midland theater on November 21.

*The ARC label offers a recapitulation of its concert series at the Blue Room.

*Tweet o’ the Week: Libby Hanssen- New Jazz Order sounds like they've been playing at The Broadway Kansas City for years.

*From a press release: KC Jazz meets Broadway as Tim Whitmer presents the Fifth Annual July Jazz Jam at Community Christian Church. The Wild Women of Kansas City, featuring Millie Edwards, Lori Tucker and Geneva Price, join the always amazing Tim Whitmer and The KC Jazz All-Stars- Jurgen Welge, James Albright, Rod Fleeman and Jim Mair,- for an evening of Broadway standards and jazz classics... Sunday, July 26, 2015, 7 p.m. at Community Christian ChurchTickets are available at for $10/advance or $15/door.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Born Again on Broadway

The live music venue at 3601 Broadway is the source of the worst news and the best news on Kansas City’s jazz scene in the first half of 2015.

The Broadway Jazz Club was temporarily shuttered about 17 months after it opened. 

The awful news was offset by the enormously encouraging report that John Scott, the proprietor of the Green Lady Lounge jazz club, would operate an overhauled version of the room.

My visit to the revamped location at 3601 Broadway last Thursday revealed welcome improvements. 

Now named Broadway Kansas City, the venue offered expert service.  The dim lighting that sets the mood at the Green Lady Lounge is now matched by the darkness at Broadway Kansas City.  I had to use the flashlight on my phone to ascertain the denominations of the bills in my wallet. 

About 20 people took in a performance by vocalist Molly Hammer and Ken Lovern.  The duo’s repertoire was heavy on Dinah Washington material and also included renditions of “Never Will I Marry” and “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.”

Lovern is best known as the funky jazz organist for OJT.  He played piano in a cabaret setting on Thursday.  Hammer’s use of an electronic tablet- presumably as a prompt for lyrics- was slightly off-putting.  

One thing that hasn’t changed at Broadway Kansas City is the impressive sound system.  The sound is just as rich and crisp in the back of the room as it is a few feet from the stage.

I’m looking forward to taking advantage of the burgers and beer special* at Broadway Kansas City during my next visit.

*Scott has verified that the $14.95 deal is available “Tuesday through Sunday, 5 p.m. to 11 pm.”

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)